photo (22)Today is the last day to register to vote if you want to to have a say in who will be on the ballot this November. It is easy and convenient to register online.

With the June 3 primary election two weeks away, it is important to make your voice heard both in June and November. Two major Westside political leaders are leaving office after decades of service, putting Santa Monica at the center of a dramatic political shakeup.

There are nearly 20 candidates – more than half of whom are Democrats – running to succeed Henry Waxman, the veteran congress member who will retire this year after representing Santa Monica and the Westside for 40 years in Washington.

The race to represent Congressional District 33, which includes Beverly Hill, West Hollywood, and all the coastal cities from Santa Monica and Malibu south to Palos Verdes – has drawn a crowded field, including State Senator Ted Lieu, former L.A. City Controller and mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel, Matt Miller, the host of KCRW’s political talk show Left, Right & Center, and Marianne Williamson, a self-help author.

At the same time, Zev Yaroslavsky, who has served on the five-person L.A. County Board of Supervisors since 1994, is leaving office due to term limits.

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With a budget of about $25 billion and a constituency of about 10 million people, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors is arguably one most powerful local government institutions in the country.

The race to replace Yaroslavsky has drawn fewer candidates – there are seven – than the contest to replace Waxman, but there are some big names in the running, including former State legislator Sheila Kuehl, Santa Monica’s former mayor and city council member, Bobby Shriver (as in Maria Shriver’s brother), West Hollywood City Councilmember John Duran, and former Malibu Mayor Pamela Conley Ulich.

Whoever replaces Yaroslavsky will also take his seat on the L.A. Metro Board of Directors along with the four other supervisors. While all of the candidates have emphasized the importance of growing L.A. County’s public transit system, recently, Kuehl was endorsed by the Beverly Hills Courier, a rabid opponent of Metro’s plans to extend the subway through the tony city.

Then there’s the race to replace Ted Lieu, who opted to go for Waxman’s seat over running for reelection, as State Senate District 26’s representative.

There are eight candidates, seven of which are Democrats.

Santa Monica-Malibu School Boardmember Ben Allen (a lawyer), former State Assemblymember Betsy Butler (also a lawyer), activist (and lawyer) Sandra Fluke, physician (not a lawyer) Vito Imbasciani, Manhattan Beach Mayor Amy Howorth, attorney (surprise!) Barbi Appelquist, and former Screen Writers Guild President Patric Verrone are all running as Democrats.

Seth Stodder, a law professor, is running as an Independent.

Unlike most states, California has nonpartisan primary elections, which means that regardless of party affiliation, the two candidates in any race who get the two highest number of votes continue on to the General Election in November.